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Irish stick with what works in weekend matches

Joe Meixell | Friday, October 8, 2004

As the old saying goes, if something isn’t broken, don’t fix it.

In last weekend’s match against Syracuse, Carolyn Cooper made her first start and stepped in at middle blocker. The junior made quite an impression, chipping in seven blocks and a personal season-high three kills in one of Notre Dame’s strongest defensive performances of the season.

The Irish will stick with Cooper at middle blocker when they travel to face Rutgers [11-4] and Seton Hall [6-12].

“[Cooper] brings a lot of energy to the court,” coach Debbie Brown said. “We got the result we hoped we would from putting her in.”

Brown hopes Cooper will have a similar impact this weekend, beginning with Saturday’s match against Rutgers.

Last weekend, Rutgers competed in the Big East Challenge and defeated Villanova in the consolation match 26-30, 30-21, 25-30, 30-26, 15-13. Scarlet Knights sophomore Lora Tankauskas looks to be an offensive threat, as last weekend she led Rutgers with a team-high 18 kills. Rutgers senior Abbey Martin’s match-high 59 assists are numbers that would intimidate most teams.

But Brown believes the Irish are ready for any challenges Rutgers might send their way.

“Neither [Rutgers or Seton Hall] has players we can’t handle,” Brown said. “We just can’t beat ourselves by having unforced errors.”

Seton Hall’s setter Shawn McDonald looks to provide many of the offensive challenges the Irish will encounter on Sunday.

The senior collected her 4,000th assist in Tuesday’s win against Fordham, recording a match-high 40 assists and 11 digs. After Tuesday’s match, Seton Hall remains undefeated at home.

Despite the Irish opponents’ impressive accolades, Brown believes Notre Dame is capable of notching wins at both Big East Conference matches this weekend.

“We need each individual to be consistent with their play and we need to have the whole team on the same page,” Brown said. “With any team we play, we have to anticipate that they’ll have career matches against us.”